Description: Lauriston Place, Fire Station, Including Ancillary Building, Boundary Wall, Gatepiers and Railings
Date Listed: 13 August 1987
Historic Scotland Building ID: 30123
OS Grid Coordinates: 325173, 673142
Latitude/Longitude: 55.9455, -3.1996
Robert Morham, 1897-1901. 3-storey and attic Queen Anne fire station (now HQ and museum). 4-bay square-plan block (Engine House) facing Lauriston Place, 13 bays following street line to Lauriston Place; circular corner tower at re-entrant angle with finialled bell-cast-roof. 5-stage square-plan hose-drying tower (truncated, see Notes). Locharbriggs red sandstone ashlar (granite-faced to ground floor of Lauriston Place block), squared and snecked sandstone to rear. Channelled to ground; projecting band between ground and 1st floors; broad modillioned eaves cornice. Long and short quoins to 1st and 2nd floors. Round-arched openings to ground floor windows; moulded surrounds to 1st and 2nd floor windows, corniced to 1st.
S (LAURISTON PLACE) ELEVATION: 4 key-blocked round-arched openings (modern glazed metal doors) to ground. Cartouches (see Notes) to centre and above outer doors. Canted 2-storey oriel windows above in outer bays (segmental pediments to 1st floors windows). Stone parapet, balustered to centre; stone-mullioned windows in scrolled steeply-gabled dormers to attic in outer bays; small segmental-headed slate-hung dormers set back in centre bays.
SW (LADY LAWSON STREET) ELEVATION: timber panelled door to stair tower in moulded surround with curved segmental pediment; windows to stair with leaded stained glass; small square windows under eaves. Single storey projecting porch to outer right bay, swept to sides; glazed 2-leaf timber door in glazed timber screen with swan-necked pediment in key-blocked round-arched surround; carved panel with guttae to stone parapet. Timber panelled door with small-pane glazed fanlight in corniced moulded surround to 3rd bay from left, flanked by windows in recessed round-arched surrounds. Advanced mansard-roofed 3-bay centre block with long and short quoins: small window to ground flanked by large windows in round-arched openings; bipartite windows to centre at 1st (with segmental pediment) and 2nd floors, flanked by channelled blocks; stone parapet above, balustered to sides; tripartite stone-mullioned window in scrolled steeply-pedimented dormer to attic. Timber panelled door with small-pane glazed fanlight in corniced moulded surround to 6th bay from left.
SE (SIDE) ELEVATION: 2 Diocletian windows to ground floor. 2-storey oriel above; paired windows to 1st floor, single to 2nd, with segmental pediment.
NW (SIDE) ELEVATION: advanced bay to right, blind above ground, with scrolled pediment clasping corbelled chimney. 2-bay section to left (not channelled to ground) with small windows in right bay to 1st and 2nd floors.
NE (REAR) ELEVATION: round-arched openings to ground. Later cast-iron balconies to 1st and 2nd floors. Alterations and additions of various dates to left and at 4th floor. Square-plan hose-drying tower with curved metal balconies; engaged channelled shafts to top stage.
INTERIOR: cast-iron columns, timber ceiling and white glazed tiles to Engine House; mahogany panelled doors with brass hinges; fire pole from Fire Master's flat. Timber panelled telegraph room. Timber and cast-iron stalls to stables; herring-bone glazed bricks to floor.
ANCILLARY BUILDING: pitched-roofed single storey and attic ancillary building to rear (formerly stables etc). Squared and snecked red sandstone. Bracketed eaves; stone skews; graded greenish slates. Altered at various later dates.
Predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Greenish Westmoreland slates. Cast-iron down pipes with decorative hoppers. Tall corniced ashlar stacks.
BOUNDARY WALL, GATEWAYS AND RAILINGS: squared and snecked sandstone boundary wall with corniced red sandstone gatepiers (red sandstone with blind round-arched keyblocked openings to NE). Pedimented keyblocked red sandstone gateway (carved panel with guttae above) to centre of SE elevation. Cast-iron railings with decorative pierced motifs - EFB (Edinburgh Fire Board), Coat of Arms etc.
Dean of Guild 1897, 1898. ACADEMY ARCHITECTURE. EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS 6th March 1897. BUILDER 13th March 1897. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) p259. Brochure accompanying official re-opening 9th April 1999.
Metal cartouche between central engine doors reads 'Central Fire Brigade Station opened by the Right Honourable Sir Mitchell Thomson Bart Lord Provost 7th June 1900;' stone cartouches to right and left EFB (Edinburgh Fire Board) and 1898. The Fire Station was built in what was then the SW corner of the cattle market. Dean of Guild drawings show finialled, ogee-roofed louvred top section to tower with crenellated balcony, and workshops, recreation room and gymnasium to ground floor; stables to rear of engine room and in separate building to rear; flats for married men with bathrooms and kitchens and dormitories for single men on 2nd and 3rd floors; Fire Master's flat above the Engine House, with bay-windowed drawing and dining rooms, parlour and servant's room. The EVENING NEWS reported that the new building would be the most complete and the most perfectly equipped in the Kingdom (costing around '23000 including site acquisition), providing accommodation for Firemaster, Firemen with their families, Fire Engines and Horses. The doors were wide enough to leave the building at full gallop 'within 12 to 15 seconds of the alarm being given'. The building remained an operational fire station and main control centre until its replacement at Tollcross was completed in 1988. A major repair and refurbishment was carried out in 1998-9 by the City Architect's team in order to ensure the future of the building as HQ and Museum for Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade.
Source: Historic Scotland
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.